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Re: Bug#156503: M$ true type fonts in non-free?

On Wed, Aug 14, 2002 at 03:42:21PM -0400, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 14, 2002 at 09:37:19AM -0400, Eric Sharkey wrote:
> > The problem with copyright lawsuits is that the opinion of the defendant
> > has absolutely no bearing.  What matters is the opinion of the plaintiff,
> > who decides if a suit should be filed, and the opinion of the judge,
> > who decides who wins.
> I've seen plenty of statements to the contrary on debian-legal; that may
> be a better place for this.

I've posted on the subject of copyright and typefaces before:

  In the United States and many other places, copyright registrations are
  allowed for typefaces only under very limited circumstances. Some outline
  fonts are subject to limited copyright restrictions because of hinting
  programs or other software embedded in the font. The output of those
  programs, once converted to a bitmap in order to typeset a document, is
  not a derived for work the purpose of copyright. By extension, an outline
  or bitmap font generated by examining a typeset document is also not a
  derived work.

I don't have exact citations, but anyone who's interested can probably find
all of the details by reading _Eltra Corp. v. Ringer_ and the Copyright
Revision Act of 1976.

There's a number of things in the TTF format which could be construed as
computer software for running state machines in the TTF rendering system,
and are thus subject to copyright restrictions. Redistributing those .ttf
files which were previously downloaded from Microsoft's web site without
their permission probably constitutes copyright infringement.

Microsoft's grant of permission, which they call an "End User License
Agreement", excludes both modified and for-profit distribution, and makes
their fonts non-free according to our Debian Free Software Guidelines. It
does, however, seem to grant permission to distribute unmodified versions of
the font files. Provided we don't distribute non-free on a for-profit basis,
which I'm fairly sure we don't, it seems we can distribute the fonts within
the limitations established by the license, and thus without infringing on
their copyright.

Brian Ristuccia

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